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My jerk-resistant keyboard setup and the jerk in question demonstrating its functionality. #catsarejerks
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This is chapel that is the entrance to the older, west side of Highgate Cemetery as seen from the inside of the cemetery. The paved area I'm looking across is the enormous turning circle for Victorian horse-drawn hearses which could be pulled by as many as four pairs of horses for the sake of show. The chapel, of course, dates from the opening of the cemetery in 1839 and another example of 19th century Gothic Revival architecture. There are two chapels, one on either side of the gate in the centre. The larger one on the right is for Anglicans who would be allowed to be buried in the consecrated parts of the cemetery. The smaller chapel is for dissenters/non-conformists (i.e. not Anglicans). The borough of Highgate, when it was a separate town before the amalgamation of Greater London, was a hotspot for non-conformist churches. It used to be that clergy booted from the Church of England were barred from preaching within 5 miles of the city or parish they were kicked out of. Highgate Town was a nice place that was just far enough away from the City. The building used to have some wooden spires that are gone now, lost to lack of maintenance between when the London Cemetery Company became unprofitable and folded and when the non-profit Friends of Highgate that run things now rescued the cemetery from complete neglect. Space for burial is a finite resource and there inevitably came a point where there weren't enough grave spaces left to sell to pay for groundskeeping and building maintenance.
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Now I've made it to Highgate Cemetery. The walk along Swain's Lane was longer than I thought and not being able to see the cemetery because of the wall around it had me questioning whether I had made a wrong turn what with every street in London having a different name every couple hundred metres (e.g. after walking up Merton Lane to and actual T intersection where it was clear I was turning on to a different street, the subsequent street went from Highgate West Hill to Holly Terrace, back to Highgate West Hill, and then to South Grove without any sense that I wasn't on the same street the whole way.) But I was soon reassured I was on the right track when I saw a couple of happy looking Goths crossing the lane up ahead. The skinny on the building will be in the next post.
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Call this my transition photo from the Hampstead Heath ponds to Highgate Cemetery. This is Pond Square Chapel (United Reform Church.) It's at the top of the exceedingly steep walk up to the top of Highgate hill. I thought the hike over the heath was tiring. I stopped to take a picture partly because I liked the windows, but largely because I was tired. This chapel isn't anything particularly old or noteworthy. It's mid-19th C. Gothic Revival that you can find plenty of in Canada. Just beyond this is Swain's Lane, the way to get to Highgate Cemetery. Swain's Lane is a narrow little one-lane street with a narrow little sidewalk just wide enough for one person. You can't see the cemetery at all from the lane because one of the selling points of Highgate Cemetery when it was new was security against grave robbers, so the whole thing is surrounded by a tall brick wall. In the early days when it was a for-profit cemetery run by the typically English obviously and descriptively named "London Cemetery Company", retired servicemen were hired to patrol the cemetery. During the Regency and Victorian eras grave robbing was not about stealing valuables the corpses may have been buried with, but stealing the corpse itself to sell for medical research. In fact, because there was no law against digging up a corpse, but talking valuables from a grave was theft one could go to jail for, typically the corpse would be stripped of any valuables and those would be left in the grave.
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Mid-apocalyptic supply run. (O.K., I didn't actually take the wooden sword. That's a souvenir from the site of the Battle of Hastings.) The gloves and mask are very real, though. The gloves because people touch things in the supermarket and if I'm not sick, I don't want to be. The mask because it hasn't been long enough since I was traveling to be completely sure about whether I might be a vector. It also helps to keep from voiding the purpose of the gloves by touching my face. I got some disdainful looks from people who clearly thought I was over the top. No fucks given on my part. And just as well. No social distancing was going on at all. Just privilege and hoarding with people crowding around what was left. There was no milk left at all except some wickedly expensive organic shit. So hooray for having to spend four times as much for half the milk I usually get. There was still no sugar at all. No ground beef (lots of low-grade cuts, though, so it may be time to dig out my meat grinder.) No rice or pasta (neither of which I need since I had stocked up before all this started.) No shortage of potatoes, though. Canned foods were in short supply, except of the one thing I wanted, cream-corn. I guess I am the only person in this neighbourhood that eats potatoes and cream-corn? Likewise, the only pasta sauce left was the cheap stuff that I actually like. Other than the milk and sugar, that was a bit of a trend. At the checkout people were not keeping their distance. The woman behind meright behind mehad enough bottled water to fill a kiddie-pool. I don't mind this self-isolation one bit. People suck.
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